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Road trips are a wonderful and affordable way to take a family vacation. They allow you to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. They foster family bonding and are just plain fun. But, successful road trips, especially with kids, must include snacks! Not all snacks are created equal however. Some are better for road trips than others. Here is a list of the best road trip snacks for kids. As a bonus, I’m also including a list of the worst road trip snacks to help you make smarter choices on what snacks to pack for your next road trip!
Best Road Trip Snacks for Kids
The best road trip snacks are loved by kids, easy to pack in the car, and won’t make a huge mess. Some of the ones on this list are healthy, while others are just yummy. But all are great for eating in the car.
Cheerios are the best kid snack ever invented! They can be enjoyed by all ages from babies to adults. They are easy to transport and can be eaten on the go. While you may find a few stray ones between the seats weeks later, they don’t spoil and smell. They also won’t stain your seats!
Another great snack option for in the car is pretzels. They can easily be thrown into your bag until the grumbles start from the backseat. They are the perfect choice for a salty or crunchy bite. You can either pack small portions in ziploc bags or thrown in a family size bag to share.
Goldfish is another beloved kid snack. They are perfect because they don’t make a mess and can be eaten anywhere. Another benefit is that they come in a variety of flavors so you can please everyone in the family!
4. Annie’s Bunnies
Annie’s Bunnies are just goldfish in bunny form. They share the goldfish’s advantages, making them another solid choice for the list of the best road trip snacks for kids.
For a healthy and refreshing choice, look no further than grapes. These are ideal for summer road trips. To keep them colder longer, freeze them before leaving for your trip. This will keep them nice and chilly for hours.
Part of the fun of road trips is eating things you wouldn’t normally eat at home. Licorice is one of those things for us. We seem to only eat it while on road trips. Because it doesn’t get sticky, it’s a great choice for a sweet treat for the drive.
7. Apple Slices
Another healthy option for eating on the go is apple slices. Either buy some prepackaged ones or slice your own. If you prefer the DIY variety, remember to squeeze a little lemon juice on them after slicing to prevent them from browning before your kids have a chance to eat them.
8. String Cheese
If you are going to have a small cooler in your car, then string cheese is another top choice to pack. They take up little space and and are a favorite of kids.
9. Gummy Bears
Another fun pick to satisfy your sweet tooth in the car is gummy bears. Their compact size make them easy to pack. Plus, they won’t leave you with sticky hands to clean afterwards.
10. Ritz Crackers
Ritz crackers is another snack that is great for all ages. It is so easy to grab a sleeve of them and go. And, other than some crumbs, they are completely mess-free!
For another sweet option, pack your kids’ favorite cookies for the road trip. As long as you steer clear of the chocolate-covered ones, you can rest easy knowing that you won’t find a huge mess when you arrive at your destination.
Want something sweet, yet healthy? Raisins are the answer. They also pack huge flavor in a small package, which means they won’t take up precious space in the car.
13. Graham Crackers
Graham crackers are a good pick if your kids love crunchy snacks with a slightly sweet note. They are great to munch on while watching screens in the backseat of the car.
Who doesn’t love popcorn!?!? This fun snack is great for road trips because of its no mess factor. Pop some before you leave and throw it into a ziploc bag for the whole family to enjoy during the drive.
15. Animal Crackers
Kids of all ages seem to love animal crackers, which make them another great road trip snack for kids. Whether you choose the iced ones or the plain ones, add this to your snack list for the car and your kids will be happy!
Cheezits make this list of the best road trip snacks for kids because of their portability. You can grab the small individual bags for on the go. They are a nice choice if you are looking for a bite with some crunch to it.
17. Dried Fruit
For a healthy option that won’t make a mess, pick up some dried fruit for your trip. Choose from banana chips, dried cherries, dried mangoes, or any other fruit. They give you a hint of sweet without any stickiness.
18. Fruit Snacks
Fruit snacks are fun to eat and packaged to be the perfect on the go snack. Throw a few bags in the car and you will be set when your little ones want something sweet to eat.
19. Trail Mix
Trial mix is another good pick for older kids. You can either make your own or pick some up at the store. Snacking on it will keep the grumbles away until you can get to a restaurant for a proper meal.
Pringles are my favorite pick of chips for road trips because their packaging takes up little space and will protect the chips from getting smashed in the car. And they come in a huge variety of flavors, so there is something for everyone in the family.
21. Cereal Bars/Granola Bars
Cereal bars and granola bars are another great snack that packs a punch in a small package. These are very easy to pack and will go a long way in fending off the hunger of your family while on the road.
Bonus: Worst Road Trip Snacks for Kids
The below snacks make the list for the worst road trip snacks for kids simply because they are not ideal for eating in the car. They all have the potential to make a huge mess in your backseat. And no parent wants to spend time scrubbing car seats, especially while on vacation.
1. Cheezy Chips
Don’t pick any variety of “cheezy” chips for your trip because the orange residue left on little fingers has the potential to ruin your car seats!
It’s a bad idea to pack chocolate for the road trip simply because you can’t guarantee it won’t melt and get all over everything.
Yogurt is another snack choice that is bad for the car because of the potential for causing a huge mess. If it gets spilled, it will take you forever to get the smell out of your car!
4. Juicy Fruit
Try to stay away from any variety of fresh fruit that is really juicy. That juice can not only squirt all over your car and clothes, but it becomes sticky on your kids’ fingers.
5. Powdered Donuts
Like cheezy chips, powdered donuts are bad to eat in the car because of the powdery residue left behind on everything! You can never seem to get that powdered sugar off your clothes and seats, no matter how hard you try!
6. Ice Cream
Like chocolate, ice cream is a bad choice for the car because of its potential for melting before it is eaten. It’s fine if going from the ice cream shop to home, but not want you want to deal with if you will be in the car for several hours.
This list of the best (and worst) road trip snacks for kids will make your next road trip easier by preventing messes while keeping your kids full and happy. For more tips, see how to pack for road trips like a pro, how to handle kids and car sickness, how to save time on road trips, and essential items for a successful road trip with kids. If you will be flying, see my best and worst airplane snacks for kids. Happy travels!
P.S. Want a printable version of this list so you can take it to the grocery store to stock up for your trip? You will find it and other helpful tools for family travel in our members-only Travel Resource Library. Get instant access to the library by signing up for our weekly newsletter, which is full of travel tips, trip ideas, and inspiration to travel better with your family. You will find the sign up box at the top right of this page or on the home page.